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ancient olympian Archives - Andrew Wittman


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The Sound of No Hands Clapping

“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping.”

Dale Carnegie

 No Hands Clapping


I am constantly reminding myself to not base how I feel about my performance on what other people think. If you do all that you can to prepare, and you execute with your very best effort, who cares if people applaud you or not. Do I like it better when they do? YUP!! I really do like it when people like me. However, and my wife and kids can testify, I honestly don’t care if someone likes me, approves of me, or applauds me or NOT.

One day, several years ago, when my oldest son was in middle school, it was my turn to pick up in car line. He got into the truck, we exchanged hugs, and asked how each other’s day was going. I mentioned, laughingly, a response to an op-ed piece I had written for the newspaper, it was ripping me, but was poorly written (SHOCKER!).

My son laughed with me, and said, “Dad, half the world hates you!”

Well, it’s probably a lot higher percentage than that, but those folks aren’t contributing to my family’s well-being anyway, so who cares. 300 Spartans took on the world’s superpower, Persia, and stopped them dead in their tracks. I’m pretty sure, Leonidas wasn’t heartbroken over the fact that Xerxes didn’t like him. In fact, Leonidas didn’t much dig Xerxes either.

Every major decision I’ve made in my life, had a truck load of folks who didn’t applaud the decision I made. And guess what, had I made the opposite decision, I would have had a truck load of folks who didn’t applaud the decision. Live your life, make your choices based on the criteria that making these decisions will bring you closer to realizing your vision and overall goals. (Of course, if you don’t have a vision, making decisions is like taking a vacation with no destination, or start date, but that’s for another day.)

Today, instead of taking into consideration the validation of others (family, friends, coworkers, the boss, etc.), think about becoming the one validates them. Can you imagine being a lowly foot soldier in World War II and having General Douglas MacArthur slap your shoulder and say, “You’re doing a great job, keep on keeping on”? Do you think MacArthur was seeking validation?


Boo Yah!

The Success Secret of Ancient Olympic Peak Performers


Peak Performer conscience

The ancient Greek Olympians were some of the first Peak Performers, blazing the trail for each of us who utilize their Mental Toughness Techniques.  They understood that they were a 3 Part Being (See DeFrag Yourself).


These ancient Peak Performers dominated their weak flesh with their willing spirits by honing their skill of listening to the voice of their spirit, their conscience.  The ancient Greek word for conscience is suneidesis (soon-i’-day-sis) and it literally means “Co-Perception” or to perceive together.  Together with what? Together with their 5 physical senses.  Their conscience, their suneidesis, was their 6th Sense.  It gave them the edge in reactionary situations but it also was the thing that helped them to dominate their bodies, and their souls (mind, will, and emotions).


These champions of old, almost magically, without the help of modern science, modern technology, (without Google, even), knew what to do to win.  They knew how to do it.  And most importantly, they knew when to do it.  All Peak Performers have this 6th Sense, not just as a warning system, like Spider Man’s Spidey Sense, but the REAL YOU, your spirit, taking into account all of the information gathered by your physical senses and processed at the sub-conscious level, at lightning fast speed.


If you begin to recognize this voice, and then begin to act on it instantly, your performance level will rise in proportion.  Here’s a simple example:  Several years ago, I was doing some maintenance on a rental property we owned, mostly yard work.  It was hot, humid and sunny.  My conscience, the voice of my spirit, told me to put on some sun screen about 2 hours into the morning.  I ignored it and, yup, was the proud owner of a scorching, blistering, sun burn.  Needless to say, my performance level for the next several dropped to almost nothing.


Ask yourself, have you ever done something or been somewhere when it all went south, and you said, “I knew I shouldn’t have done that!” or “I knew I shouldn’t have gone to that!” ? If you ever had that experience, you just located your suneidesis of the Ancient Olympic Champions.


Please go to the comments and share an experience when you heard your conscience but ignored it and what happened.  Or, share a time when you heard your conscience and acted on it.  Sharing these types of experiences help to make you more aware and more willing to act on your conscience.


Boo Yah!

Crossing The Threshold

“Men who know themselves are no longer fools. They stand on the threshold of the door of Wisdom.”

Havelock Ellis

 boy and wolf

Wisdom is the skill and ability to make good decisions, especially when it’s all on the line.  Like the decision to never give up, never give in, and leave it all on the field of battle…and when you have been tested and tried, and you know that you have that ability in you, you have crossed the threshold.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of watching someone cross that threshold.  It was a prolific moment, both for me and the young man who stepped across it.  I was at a high school wrestling tournament that was stocked with the best teams in the state.  Teams filled with competitors that would be competing at the collegiate level within a few months.

I watched a rookie competitor go up against the opposing team’s captain.  The expectations were a quick pinning of the rookie. What had actually happened was a 16-year old high school athlete walked onto the mat, and 6-minutes later, he walked off a man and a warrior, having crossed the threshold.  He lost the match on points, was in the position of disadvantage the entire eternity of those 6-minutes, on his back.  But he made the decision to not give up, not give in, and he literally left every ounce of his strength and energy on the mat.  He refused to be pinned.

He dug deeply within himself, as deeply any professional warrior I have ever served with, displaying toughness beyond his years.  He could barely stand to his feet when the buzzer sounded.  He could scarcely breathe, his wind pipe had been flattened out, as he was in a head lock for the last 45-seconds of the match. (The same hold that had choked 3 others into unconsciousness, that day).  Being pinned would mean giving up 6 points instead of 3, and in the end, his team won the overall match by 2.

I would have never crossed the threshold without the Marine Corps’ help, and here this guy crossed over his first year in the arena.  I have enormous respect and admiration for him.  Success in any area of life is now his for the taking.

Have you crossed the threshold?

Do you know yourself?

Do you have the mental and physical toughness to leave all on the field of whatever battle you are facing?

Boo yah!

Don’t Mistake Meekness for Weakness

The Greek historian, Plutarch, was the first to put pen to paper, in the recording of the ancient Spartan warrior society.  He used the word “praotes” in his writings, from which we get the word “meekness”.

 Meek Inherit the Earth

The modern usage of “meekness” is very different from Plutarch’s original meaning.  Plutarch’s usage signifies the ability to control yourself, especially emotional and passionate reactions, and that this ability is a result of training.

Meekness is the ability to easily manage strength and force.  Weakness is the lack of strength and force.  Don’t confuse the two.   Meekness comes from being coachable and getting the right coaching/training.  It’s extremely difficult to train/coach yourself to manage your passions and natural emotional reactions, especially if you are just starting out.  Once you get a foundation, buckle up, it’s a life-long practice, one that needs constant attention, but the benefits are enormous.

Unrestrained and unmanaged forceful responses to what happens to you in life can be disastrous over the long term.  Unchecked emotional behavior will lead to you being in a position of weakness, passed over for promotions or even unemployed, fewer friends and family members willing to stand by and apologize for outbursts or even put up with them.  That seems extreme, yet this lack of control over oneself can be seen on any game day, board meeting, or competition in any field at any level.

We all have heard of celebrities or sports stars who have a pattern of throwing tantrums, and their subsequent inability to get another part or roster position on another team.  You may personally know folks who have that same pattern and have witnessed the consequences.  It’s something I struggle with daily, to be more controlled and measured in my responses to people and situations.

Once I stopped confusing meekness for weakness, it allowed me to become teachable and make the necessary course corrections given by my mentors and coaches.  Suddenly, I began to understand how it is that the meek could inherit the planet.

Boo Yah!

Prepare to Win

“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

Bear Bryant

 Bear Bryant

Prep time.  10,000 rounds on target.  Practice until you can’t get it wrong.  Repetition after repetition.  Follow the process, over and over, two-a-day workouts.  Day after day, hour after hour.  Getting tired yet? Hold your head up and straighten your shoulders.  More conditioning, more training, more dry-fire drills, more snapping in.  Take a knee, face outboard and drink water.  Sore? Rub some dirt on it, and get back at it.

After about three weeks of that, you start to think you are exhausted.  Don’t! You have the will to prepare to win.  You are just getting started, just warming up.  When the majority of folks call it a day and head for the couch, you stay at it.  The price of winning is not negotiable.  Those who try to become a champion by paying the employee discount price, don’t become a champion.

Most folks don’t have the drive, the will, or the commitment to complete prep time.  No high level performer has ever skipped it.  No great musician, no artist, actor, athlete, sports announcer, news anchor, radio personality, top sales rep, CEO, sniper, spec ops warrior, 5-star chef, or an elected head of state, reached the pinnacle of their field by heading for the sofa and playing video games.

Don’t be impressed at someone’s success, be impressed by the amount of work they put in, during prep time, to reach that success.  It takes hours to prepare a holiday meal, and minutes to eat it.  It takes Olympic sprinters years upon years of training for an event that lasts less than 10 seconds.  MMA fighters train incessantly for three 5-minute rounds, and decades of preparation goes into a successful presidential campaign.

When preparation is done right, winning is just a by-product.

Boo Yah!!

Don’t Be Afraid To Act On Warning Signs

We are looking at the 6 conditions of the conscience, your co-perceiver (Ancient Olympian’s 6th Sense), and today we finish up with a TENDER Conscience.

warning signs




Tender means, in the case of the Ancient Olympian, that one must be willing or ready to yield to the influence of the conscience (the Inner Peak Performer).  To achieve Peak Performance we must be mentally tough enough to be sensitive to our intuition.  We must not be rigid or obstinate when our spidey-sense goes off.  This is where having purged ourselves of being manipulated by guilt comes into play.  We must be flexible enough to not feel bad about changing the course of action in mid-stream if our conscience tells us to change course.  The truth is that I’d probably be dead, many times over, if I was rigid and obstinate when I got new warnings from my conscience.  This is especially true during my days as a street cop in Spartanburg, SC, answering 911 calls, with my nearest backup at least 30 minutes away.  Without being tender and sensitive to my spidey-sense, reacting instantly to the hair on the back of my neck standing up, I’d be writing this from the clouds.

That’s some extreme stuff, but what about in a business deal, buying a car or some real estate, or even getting into a really bad and abusive relationship?  If we are tender to our consciences, we will begin to detect the warning signs early on, and if we are bold enough to make a course correction, we can avoid a lot of heart ache.

Boo yah!

Are You Tough In All The Wrong Places?

We are looking at the 6 conditions of the conscience, your co-perceiver (Ancient Olympian’s 6th Sense), and today we look at a SEARED Conscience.



Tough in all the wrong places

Seared means to deaden the feelings, make insensitive or to become callused.   I do a lot of pull-ups during my workouts.  Initially, my hands blistered up from the pressure of my weight on the inside of my hands.  It was very painful, as my hands were telling me via the voice of pain to stop doing what I was doing.  I, of course, ignored it and soon enough my hands became callused.  They are rough and tough now, insensitive and the feeling is deadened.  This was a process to toughen up my body.  I use a similar process to toughen up my soul (mind, will and emotions) and become “thick-skinned”.  However, the one thing that I don’t want to deaden my sensitivity to is my Inner Olympian.  In order to maintain complete USER/ADIMINISTRATOR control over my life, I absolutely must not sear my conscience.  If we remain sensitive to the voice of the Peak Performer on the inside, we will realized Peak Performance on the outside.

If you’ve been ignoring your intuition, “spidey-sense”, conscience, or Inner Olympian for a long time, you probably have developed a callus.  Whenever a callus on my hand is ripped away, it is VERY VERY painful, worse than the initial blister.  To reach Peak Performance, if you have seared your conscience, it is going to hurt to rip away the callus, but it has to be done if you want to rise to the next level.  Do it quickly, like ripping a Band-Aid off a wound.

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Boo yah!!


Spartan Warriors: The Ultimate Peak Performers

We are looking at the 6 conditions of the conscience, your co-perceiver (Ancient Olympian’s 6th Sense), and today we look at a STRONG Conscience.


Peak Performance through mental toughness warriors


I want to look at this attribute of Peak Performance from the Ancient Spec Ops Warrior’s point of view. My absolute favorite, the Spartan Warriors, of “300” fame; they are the model of all Peak Performers through Mental Toughness. The Greek word the Spartan Warrior used for “strong” was “KRATOS” meaning to dominate. Their inner Ancient Olympian/Warrior (their conscience), not only dominated their bodies, their mind, will, and emotions, but also their enemies. Those who would seek to destroy them, their families, and their futures.
Strong (Kratos) conscience means powerful, mighty, stalwart, vigorous, energetic, sturdy, stout, solid, durable, sound, resolute, determined, tenacious, firm, UNYIELDING, courageous, forceful, intense, fervent, effective, UNDILUTED, extraordinary, extreme, emphatic, severe, and even could be considered as HARSH.
Hey, these things might not make you popular with folks who don’t want to be Peak Performers. So what? Remember, the thoughts that come from the RED FLAG LIST are your personal enemies and anybody who constantly wants you to live on that list is also your enemy. I just heard someone say, “My goodness, Andrew that sounds HARSH.” (See above definition of STRONG, I warned you about this already.)
People who pull you into negativity or even mediocrity are threatening to destroy your future, and by default your family’s future. DO NOT SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY!! Be STRONG (KRATOS) and dominate your body, your mind, will and emotions. Then push out your airspace and dominate your surrounding environment and thereby dominate your future.

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Boo yah!!